Thursday, December 11, 2008
Hello, Lauren, it's great to chat with you! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Lauren: I was an independent bookseller and buyer for 11 years until 1994 when I left to take a chance on myself as a writer. Over the course of the next eight years, while writing seven books and trying to make a first sale, I supported my writing habit with part-time jobs as a Publishers Weekly reviewer (292 titles), a freelance editor (nearly 100 books), a sort-of librarian (arranging author visits and leading a writing workshop), and window washer (I washed Robert Ludlum's windows). In fall 2001, I began reading reviews of a new publisher, Red Dress Ink, whose editorial sensibility I felt was a match for the sixth book I'd written, THE THIN PINK LINE, a dark comedy about a woman who fakes an entire pregnancy. So I showed The Thin Pink Line to an agent I was working with at the time on Vertigo, another book that has since sold and been published, and asked if he'd read it. He did, said he loved it but that there were too many books like it out there. You know, all those other fake pregnancy comedic novels? So I asked if he'd submit it to this one publisher, RDI, who still seemed perfect for it. He said no, because he knew for a fact that they didn't want books with a London setting. This sounded frankly nutty to me, so I asked if he'd be offended if I sent it to them on my own. He said, very scathingly, "If that's what you want to do with your time..." So I sent it off, it sold as part of a two-book deal, was published in 10 countries, optioned for a film (never made but at least I got paid) and was the first Harlequin imprint book ever to receive a starred Kirkus review, causing them to buy three more books from me before the first even came out.
Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Lauren: When I still needed four part-time jobs to support my writing habit, I used to begin my writing workday between 2:30 and 4:30 a.m. Now I'm more lax. I begin at 7 a.m. when my daughter leaves for school and pretty much work straight through til 4 p.m. when she gets home. If the writing is good, I'll also sneak more time in the nights and on weekends. I do try to arrange things so I'm only answering email etc between 3 and 4 p.m. so I can have "General Hospital" on in the background.
Please tell us about your latest series THE SISTERS EIGHT and what we can expect from your characters.
Lauren: THE SISTERS EIGHT is a nine-book series of books, launching Dec 29 with Annie's Adventures and Durinda's Dangers, about that rarest of things: octuplets. On New Year's Eve, Mommy goes out to the kitchen for eggnog, Daddy goes out to the shed for firewood...and neither returns. Now the Eights, as they are known, must solve the mystery of what happened to their parents while keeping the wider world from realizing that eight little girls are living home alone. The books are geared toward ages 6 to 10 but with early reviewer comparisons to Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey, hopefully readers of all ages will enjoy. The books are being published by Houghton Mifflin and the first two have been selected by the Junior Library Guild. Curious parties can read more about the series at the wonderful site Houghton Mifflin created, www.sisterseight.com.
Sounds like a terrific series! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Lauren: My next non-SISTERS EIGHT book is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, due sometime around mid-2009 and also with Houghton Mifflin. It's a contemporary Beauty & the Beast YA story about a gorgeous girl and a boy with hooks for hands.
Lauren, thanks so much for sharing with us! I wish you the best with your new series! Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Lauren: I always say the same thing. Read, read, read, because you can't be a good writer if you're not a good reader, and always remember: the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.
By the end of 2008, Lauren Baratz-Logsted will have had 12 books published since 2003 in a variety of genres. For adults: Vertigo (Random House); The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, and Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes (all from RDI). For teens: Angel's Choice and Secrets of My Suburban Life (both from Simon & Schuster). For tweens: Me, In Between (S&S). For young readers: the first two volumes in The Sisters Eight series, co-written with her husband Greg Logsted and their eight-year-old daughter Jackie, both of which books will be twin lead titles from Houghton Mifflin in December. Lauren is also the editor and a contributor to the anthology This Is Chick-Lit (BenBella) and has had several stories and essays published. Her books have been published in 11 countries and you can read more about her life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.